MPs criticise Post Office’s handling of IT system problems

July 1, 2015

131015 - ELB at DPMQsEmma has joined MPs from across the country to debate the Post Office’s handling of an investigation into problems with its Horizon IT system.

MPs from all parties shared cases where their constituents had been accused of theft, forced to resign and lost tens of thousands of pounds when money went missing from post office accounts, despite the Post Office being unable to prove that the faults were not a result of flaws in Horizon. These cases were widespread across Britain, and over 150 different Post Offices have made applications to have their cases considered.

Emma raised the case of Mrs Carter, the former sub-postmistress at Biddick Hall Post Office, whose calls to the Post Office asking her to come and investigate the flaws in the IT system at her branch were ignored.

Intervening on the MP for North Durham, Kevan Jones MP, Emma said:

“Does my hon. Friend agree that the Post Office has failed to be transparent about this process? My constituent, Mrs Carter, a sub-postmistress, asked the Post Office to audit her branch to get to the bottom of the problem, but it refused to do so.”

Mr Jones agreed, saying the Post Office not only not been transparent; it has gone out of its way to delay cases and hide evidence.”

The review conducted into Horizon by Second Sight reported that the Post Office had withheld documents from the investigation, and that the Post Office had rushed to prosecute sub-postmasters without first investigating the possibility that the problems had been caused by IT problems.

MPs taking part in the debate called for a full judicial inquiry to get to the bottom of the matter.

The Minister responding to the debate, George Freeman MP, said that there was “no evidence that the Horizon system is flawed” and that an inquiry was not necessary.

You can read the full text of the debate by clicking here.

Speaking after the debate, Emma said:

“It’s very disappointing that the Government continues to put this issue on the back burner. Post Offices all over the country have been experiencing these same issues – there is an obvious pattern, and it is something that needs to be investigated.

“This is a scandal that has ruined lives – constituents like mine have lost their jobs and been forced to pay tens of thousands of pounds. The Post Office has completely failed to be up front about the issues with Horizon, and it looks as though they are determined to deny people justice. The only way people like Mrs Carter are going to get justice is if MPs keep pushing for a proper inquiry.”

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